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Excel Beware of Excel Starter

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Beware of Excel Starter

Problem: My aunt always calls me for computer advice. Today, she is trying to build a simple worksheet and calls for help on the phone. I tell her to go to the Data tab in the ribbon. She can’t find the Data tab. I look on my computer and tell her it is right after Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, DATA. She says she has nothing after Formulas. I am quite sure that she has no clue how to customize the ribbon.


Figure 156 There is no Data tab!

Before 2010, if someone bought a new computer, it often came with Microsoft Works. Works offered a limited word processor and spreadsheet. Works would save files in a strange format. There was some hope that the tech support calls from relatives would start with “I have a Works problem today".

Starting with Windows 7 and Office 2010, new computers ship with Excel Starter and Office Starter. These are severely limited versions of Excel and Word. However, they actually create real Excel files.

This is simply going to be confusing.

When you get the tech support call, the first question should be: “Do you see an ad in the lower right corner of the spreadsheet?" If the answer is yes, then you know that you are dealing with Excel Starter instead of the real Excel.

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